Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maple and Chipotle Shrimp Chili

 The past month has been a rough one for my family and I but now that everyone is safe at home, I can relax a bit. Hoping for no more hospital visits. Since the recent emergency calls I had received, I now jump a little every time my cell phone rings and it's from my parent's doctor or one of them calling me at an odd hour.  Workload at job has also added to stress although everyone has been kind about my family emergency.  It's now dark before 5 PM and the past couple of weeks has required cooking comfort food.  Comfort food for me comes in many forms but I like to cook from tried and tested recipes when I just need to chop, stir and relax.  

   Recently I was talking to my friend Hima at All Four Burners about chilis and telling her about one of my favorite chilis - Maple and Chipotle Shrimp chili. Hima has a wonderful Slow-cooker Pumpkin Chili, which I made for a potluck that was later canceled. I ended up with a big pot of this deliciousness, which has some sweetness to it from the pumpkin but the spices definitely wakes you up. I had it for lunch, dinner and shared some with neighbors. I told Hima that I think I lost my  shrimp chili recipe but after a bit of decluttering and searching, I found it! You may think shrimp chili? Odd. Well, I was intrigued. I was at the Whole Foods Market when they had a chili cook-off. They had probably over ten kinds of chilis from different teams in the store. I tried all of them and loved a couple. Later, they posted some of the recipes online and this is an adaptation of that one. 

You can adjust the amount of chili powders to your taste. Add a bit more if you like more heat or less if you don't that much heat to your chili. I would increase or decrease by a half teaspoon at a time. I added in the cocoa powder because (1) I love chocolate and welcome the addition of cocoa to anything, and (2) it somehow gives the chili a certain nutty smoothness.

Maple and Chipotle Shrimp Chili

4 oz. oil 
2 tbs butter
1/2 c. flour
28 oz. can of tomatoes (I'd like to use whole plum tomatoes and then squish them by hand to pieces)
1 1/2 to 2 lbs shrimp (peeled and deveined)
4 oz. maple syrup
2 chipotles from chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped
2 (12oz) cans of black beans or black and kidney beans
10 oz. water 
2 onions, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Cut shrimp into about 1/2 inch pieces. Put oil into a bit pot over high heat. Let it heat up a little then put shrimp in to sear. Add butter and cook a couple minutes.  Remove shrimp and put aside.  Add diced onions and peppers to pot. Sprinkle in salt. Lower heat. Stir a little and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add flour and mix until it is absorbed into the oil.  Add chopped chipotle peppers, all spices, maple syrup, beans, water and tomatoes.  (Squish the tomatoes into pieces or chop them). Simmer on low heat until thickened. Add shrimp back into pot. Stir then cook a few more minutes to allow shrimp to absorb flavors and sauce. 

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